Baltimore bred screamo band Pianos Become the Teeth are taking a risky detour from their path with their weighty new album, Keep You. The band's third studio album features a ten-song selection that does not include a single Kyle Durfey scream and instead has the vocalist emoting in unusually soft but solid cadences.
The tone of Keep You differs from its predecessors mainly in its approach to conveying emotion. Rather than aggressive thrash, there is darkly layered instrumentation; instead of screaming, Durfey attempts to connect on a far more intimate level. The step away from the conventional for Pianos Become the Teeth seems to be inspired by a connection to the lost, living and dead, and a desperate need to address them. These themes are consolidated in "Enamor Me," in which Durfey acknowledges that such soft retroactive attempts are made "For the sake of being sentimental, of another time, another place, another life."
Though arguably softer, the musical ascendency of the group is still intact. David Haik's drums are in the forefront, his fills occupying the gaps between Durfey's weighty and interestingly fragmented prose. Chad McDonald and Mike York also shine with some noticeably technical interwoven guitar parts that maintain a complex tenacity without being overly aggressive.
Keep You is defined by the aforementioned, uncharacteristic screamlessness. The songs, although well assembled, lack the edge that the band is known for, which could be hazardous. Pianos Become the Teeth may have sacrificed too much for the sake of sentimentality, which may leave fans feeling sentimental about their old sound. (Epitaph)